I wish I had Rossitza Todorova as a math teacher. Listening to her talk about the “inexhaustible” qualities of geometry reveals a poetry about lines and angles that my public school education never even hinted at. “Geometry is a metaphor for the manmade,” Todorova said. “When I think of nature, it’s as a circle. Nature creates circular systems, while man is always making straight lines – roadways, infrastructures. Geometry enhances our ability to control our place, our environment.”
Todorova has a pool shark’s eye for angles. It’s how she’s able to describe a diamond as “three perfect squares that have been folded in half” or break down books as a series of “repeating squares.” Her appreciation and mastery of geometric form is on full display in her latest show at eye lounge, Distance Is Measured in Time.
Born in Bulgaria, Todorova has been a prolific and active artist in the Phoenix arts scene. She’s worked as a fundraiser and done art administrative work for both the ASU Art Museum and Phoenix Art Museum. It’s her job to create connections, to draw lines between groups and individuals to keep the art world growing. No wonder she’s so good at artistic geometry.
In person, Todorova’s work looks like industrial origami: smooth metal and alloys folded immaculately into shapes that look like they are in a state of becoming something else. Todorova talks about lines as a form of compressed time (a road isn’t just a road, it’s also a physical embodiment of the amount of time it takes you to get from your home to the gallery or supermarket). Looking at her sharp-angled structures, you get a sense that every three-dimensional fold represents some kind of journey or effort in the artist’s life.
Psychedelics might help one to see another side of time in Todorova’s sculptures – time dilation. Her geometric forms look like fractals or half-forming crystals, the kind of shapes that might flicker and fade behind your eyelids while on a particularly strong psilocybin or ayahuasca trip. The shadows they cast across the gallery as the sun sets heighten the feeling that you’re looking at a warping of reality. Everything solid breaking down into the eternal flow of geometry. It feels like time itself has stopped within these four walls.
Distance Is Measured in Time also adds a new wrinkle to the veteran artist’s work – video. “This is the first time I’ve added video to my work,” Todorova said. “I make compositions that have a lot of movement. These video pieces are literally moving, whereas with my drawings, paintings and sculptures, it’s the composition of them that creates the impression that they’re moving.”
Todorova’s exhibition creates the kind of environment you want to linger in. Look at her work long enough and you can feel it start to fold your mind into strange new shapes.
Distance Is Measured in Time
Through January 14